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Books

Valentine’s Day Exclusive: A Strengths-Based Approach to Happily Ever After — Author Interview with Suzie and James Pawelski

PC: Your book Happy Together: Using the Science of Positive Psychology to Build Love that Lasts has just come out and it shot to the top of Amazon’s new releases. Why do you think there is such a demand for this new approach and your work?

S&JP: We believe people are hungry for information on how to be happy together. We wrote this book because there is so much focus in our culture on getting together rather than being together and staying together. So much emphasis on the wedding -- rather than the marriage -- and all the decisions we need to make for just one day, a magical day no doubt, but what about all the days to come once we are married? There isn’t much out there that tells you how to be happy together. Unlike in fairy tales, “happily ever after” doesn’t just happen. It’s healthy habits that build happiness over the long haul.
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Books

Do You Want to Stay Happy Together?

When couples come to therapy, it is because something has gone wrong in their relationship. While the problems they bring run the gamut, there is one thing that is almost always a common denominator. When asked how they met they get this far-away look -- usually with a sigh -- and then tell the tale of how they fell in love. During the telling, they are transported back to a happier time. As they reveal their dance of romance, their bodies soften and breathing changes.
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Habits

Wait — What? 25 Seconds to Better Health

In a world where immediate gratification has become the expected norm the idea of promoting a product that makes you wait seems counterintuitive. But what if this product helped us do what we’ve been unable to do by ourselves?  What if the product helped us wait twenty-five seconds so we could make better health choices?  This is the research being done at Rush University Medical Center where they have discovered programing vending machines to delay access to the temptatious high-calorie snacks can help people purchase something they are less drawn to -- healthier snacks. Brad Appelhans, PhD, clinical psychologist, the lead investigator of the study at the Rush University Prevention Center, points out: “Research shows that humans strongly prefer immediate gratification, and this preference influences choices and behavior in daily life. -- Having to wait for something makes it less desirable.”
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Proof Positive

Love on the Beach

Love, like all emotions, surfaces like a distinct and fast-moving weather pattern, a subtle and ever-shifting force. ~Barbara Fredrickson, Love 2.0

The summer is ending and it is morning on the boardwalk. It is as perfect of a morning as there is going to be.

An elderly couple walks past me and find, what I assume to be their usual spot on the boardwalk. They are nuzzled up to the railing overlooking the beach. Each are carrying their provisions. He has his chair, a newspaper and a small neon blue and silver insulated lunchbox. She carries two small sun umbrellas, her chair, and an identical cooler.
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Brain and Behavior

Is the Cure for the Common Cold Within Reach?

Handshakes, High Fives, Fist Bumps, And Hugs
“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.” - Virginia Satir
In 2008 Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, gave each other a fist bump after a well-received campaign speech in Minnesota. The gesture went viral. It became the new handshake. Now, according to some, it may be trending as a health initiative.
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Inspiration & Hope

Moral Intuition and the Kindness of Strangers

She was dressed in a mink coat and oversized full fur Russian hat. Her Jimmy Choo boots and all black pantsuit seemed out of place in New York’s Penn Station. Plus, she was wheeling behind her an oversized Louis Vuitton travel bag. Even for New York she seemed too intense.

She might have been fifty years old, but her exact age was disguised, buried under impenetrable makeup and dark lipstick. She had style -- but lacked grace. She seemed to be on a mission -- somehow in a hurry to take a trip she didn’t want to take.

The escalator leading down to the train platform had a long line of passengers eager to board. Some with bags -- some with brief cases -- each looking to go home or get away.
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Aging

Love is a Verb: Findings from the Longest Study on Happiness

For decades psychology as a science studied the flaws in human beings. Depression, anxiety and mental illness research and treatment protocols dominated the journals. Looking for causes and treatments, scientists sought to find ways to alleviate suffering for the populace. In spite of all the advances and success, one truth remained: Not being depressed isn’t the same as being happy.

Nonetheless, since 1938 researchers at Harvard have been collecting data about 724 men. The study followed two groups of men for 75 years. Harvard psychiatrist George Vaillant began the study of 268 Harvard sophomores, while law school professor Sheldon Glueck studied 456 12- to 16-year-old boys who grew up in inner city Boston.

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Brain and Behavior

Are You A Mystic? A Call To Participate In Mystics Anonymous

Traditional doctors say I'm a mystic.  I don't deny it. ~Bernie Siegel
On August 1 and 2, 2009 I had an extraordinary experience while sitting on a beach. It was as though I was having a low-grade seizure. I vibrated as if I were somehow a piano, guitar, or violin string being tuned to a tuning fork. It wasn’t unpleasant, but it was by no means a joyous event. I couldn’t stop, not could I explain the quivering. I sat on the edge of the beach and watched the rhythmic waves of the ocean slap the shore.

I didn’t know exactly what was happening, but I knew it was extraordinary. I was hyperalert -- in awe -- being nudged into a type of anticipatory readiness.
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Friends

Friendship Day: Be the Friend You Would Like to Have

My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me. ~ Henry Ford

In 1935, the U.S. Congress declared the first Sunday in August a holiday to honor friendship. This year it is Sunday, August 2nd.

To celebrate the occasion I wanted to honor my best friend, Joel Morgovsky. Yes, that’s us over the past 35 years — and he just had a birthday, a milestone at that. The observance gave me pause for thought about the length of our friendship and the love — there is no better word for it — for each other.

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Brain and Behavior

The Yes-And Rule and Confessions of a Wannabe Giver

Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full -- Luke 6:38

When I read Adam Grant’s book, Give and Take, I was impressed by the simplicity and novelty of the idea. He contends that there are three types of people, givers, takers, and matchers. The givers that do the best find ways of giving that are gracious and not depleting, yet they don’t worry about getting something back from the source they gave to. They give with the full belief that their giving comes back to them, almost in a karmic fashion, through other channels.

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